Driving national change to safeguard every child on every journey to and from school across Vietnam

May 23, 2023

HANOI, VIETNAM – May 23, 2023

In Vietnam, over 17 million children are commuting between home and school 2-4 times per day. Many children share the road with speeding trucks, and they have no sidewalks to walk on going to school. Alarmingly, traffic speeds around schools frequently and significantly exceed internationally recommended school zones’ speed limits.

To safeguard the lives of young students on their journeys to school, AIP Foundation, in partnership with the FIA Foundation, has developed the Safe School Zones Guide (SSZ Guide). This SSZ Guide is a reliable blueprint to address on a larger scale the safe mobility issue around schools across the country.

The road to making all students safe on the road in Vietnam:

The partnership framework of the SSZ Guide 2021-2025 was signed by AIP Foundation and the Ministry of Transport in Hanoi in October 2021. Both parties officially committed their roles and responsibilities for the national project. The SSZ Guide aims to provide a policy and procedure framework for safe school zones to be constructed and implemented around the country.

In September 2022, the SSZ Guide reached a significant milestone with the Ministry of Transport issuing the first edition of the SSZ Guide as an official reference document – thereby allowing it to serve as a government-endorsed resource for local authorities to assess and implement solutions to improve traffic safety conditions in school zones.

Piloting the SSZ Guide across three regions:

The SSZ Guide was piloted at three school locations in Hanoi, Nghe An, and Soc Trang provinces – representing three geographic regions in Vietnam – from October to December 2022. It was first applied to assess the infrastructure around these schools. Based on this assessment, road infrastructure modifications were designed and implemented accordingly– including the installation of pedestrian crossings, rumble strips, school zone signs, and 30 km/h speed limit signage.

Overall, multiple methods were used to evaluate the effectiveness of the SSZ Guide in reducing traffic risks for student pedestrians, including assessing pre-and-post infrastructure interventions using the Star Rating for Schools (SR4S) tool developed by iRAP (International Road Assessment Programme), measuring traffic conflicts and near-miss scenarios between student pedestrians as well as focus group discussions. The successful pilot results indicated that:

– Road safety conditions in all school zones improved. Schools were upgraded from 1 or 2 stars before intervention to 4 or 5 stars after intervention (out of 5 stars being the safest).
– The number of crashes occurring in the school zones decreased by nearly 21% after the intervention.
– A decrease in the traffic conflict rates between pedestrians and vehicles was observed in Nghe An (by 4.28 conflicts/hour/1000 vehicles) and Soc Trang (by 5.17 conflicts/hour/1000 vehicles).
– Focus group discussions with students, parents, and teachers convey that the SSZ Guide has influenced their perceived feeling of safety around school zones.

Based on the encouraging results of the Pilot study, the SSZ Guide will be scaled up to build the evidence base to support legislation establishing a legal school zone definition in Vietnam – which would require all school zone developments to meet a minimum safety standard aligned with the parameters of the SSZ Guide.

Useful links:

– To read more about the SSZ Guide, please click here and here.

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